The launch of Apple Music on 30th June was the undoubted tech / media story of the week, and first impressions seemed quite positive across the board. Despite some minor gripes about it being a bloated service with a questionable user interface, people seem to like it. Whether it will be enough to persuade the legion of dedicated Spotify users to switch allegiances, or more importantly, to convince a chunk of the 800 million iTunes users to start paying a monthly subscription fee, only time will tell. Streaming music will likely become somewhat of a commodity product over the next few years, and the fact that Apple Music is baked into every iOS device will likely be their ace-in-the-hole when it comes to whether they come out on top or not.
It’s been clear for the last couple of years that video is becoming an increasingly popular medium and that Facebook are keen on stopping YouTube from hogging all the action. Over the last few weeks it seems that they have begun testing in-line autoplay ads on ‘suggested videos’ and in doing so, making it more rewarding for content publishers to push video directly on the platform. YouTube has traditionally been a more valuable platform for content publishers as they can earn money from the ads served before their videos start. While this is harder for Facebook to deliver because the vast majority of video views come from directly in the timeline (i.e. users will likely keep scrolling if an ad plays before a random video in their timeline), playing ads before ‘suggested videos’ that users actively pursue (and might be willing to suffer through an ad for) gives them a way of getting in on the action.
This is an interesting piece from AdWeek’s current Sports Issue detailing the multiple different ways that Manchester United have blazed a trail when it comes to creating a truly global brand. From being one of the first teams to embark on regular international pre-season tours all over the world, to launching their own television channel (MUTV), bringing out branded credit cards, signing multiple region-specific partnership deals as opposed to finding broad global sponsors, and generally being one of the first global sports teams to truly embrace unique digital content, there’s plenty of lessons to learn for brands in general and not just sports teams.
Another great post from Skift, this time discussing the different ways that airlines might be able to add value through premium co-branding initiatives. Air travel is becoming a much contested space, especially at the premium end of the market with the likes of Emirates, Etihad etc. constantly trying to out-do each other in offering the most outlandish experiences in the air (Emirates introduced on-board showers and cocktail bars to their A380s in 2008. Not to be outdone, Etihad answered back with their first class apartment suites last year). With such an onus on airlines wanting to position themselves as premium brands, why is there not more collaboration between airlines and other premium brands that compliment each-other? Bulgari already makes the first-class amenity kits for Emirates, but that is only the tip of the iceberg – “there could be Louis Vuitton First Class suites, … Millennial-focused rows at the back offering free connectivity and music streaming, courtesy of Apple. There could be Happy Meals in the Family cabin for the kiddies. Starbucks could offer everything from Lattes to Teavana, from scones to healthy sandwich options, to those Gen-TREP passengers in a dedicated Connected cabin. Beautyrest could sponsor special bedding and more comfortable seat cushions for a Rest Zone cabin.”